Archive for July 2009

UK Health Insurance- From the Cradle to the Queue

Health and Wealth! Isn’t that what everyone drinks to?
A look at UK Health Insurance and National Wealth.

Britain was still reeling from World War Two when the National Health Service was launched in 1948, sweeping in an era of social change and expectation.
Gone were the days of ‘bring out your dead’ if you couldn’t afford to pay.
Despite many changes over the sixty one years and its recent flirtations with Private Health Insurance companies, the so called postcode lottery system and other structural difficulties, the NHS has remained true to the ethos of access for all.
No system is perfect and spatial differences in levels of access and quality of care still need to be radically addressed.

In the UK when the National Health Service was finally implemented in 1948 as part of Labour Prime Minister Clement Attlee’s ‘cradle to the grave’ welfare state.
A nationwide system of free healthcare was finally launched by Aneurin Bevan the then Minister of Health, which promised us access to health care cover and treatment for all.
The cradle to the grave speech mentality had set the standards for social healthcare and access to treatment for all.
To date, despite its recent structural changes, and despite the healthy criticism and debate that the subject of the NHS always brings, if you look at the system in performance and social cohesion you have to say that it appears to work much better as a form of national health insurance than do comparative systems in so called developed countries. This development in healthcare is always a subject of great debate in the lead up to a General Election, and no doubt will take greater stage in the months to come

Everyone working in the UK has to pay National Insurance contributions as part of their income in order for the system to work, and facilitating everyone in the UK with medical cover.
However National Insurance contributions are not a good solution for a number of reasons.
They increase the costs of labour.
By definition this makes them inflationary.
The costs of production are passed onto the populace en masse
The contributions are by no means equitable
Many sections of the population are able to virtually opt out of the contribution system
The NHS is heavily subsided by the tax contributions of the healthy and wealthy forty percent plus payers.

Whether the United States Government is able to take what could be seen as a major left shift to achieve better social cohesion and consequently improved GDP, remains to be seen.
Are the workers prepared to subsidize the shirkers and the misfortunate? There needs to exist a situation both economically, socially and mentality, of desperation and hope that existed in the UK in 1945, in order to see a fiscal response to the current situation, biting the healthcare bullet that the USA is so afraid to bite. Providing the ultimate National Safety Net!

The States is in the difficult situation of how to deal with chronic sickness, the recession, the role of PMI as an underwriter of GDP and the political influence and lobbying power of the large Health Insurance companies. Rather you than me Barrack!

Gordon Brown should note that Private Health Insurance became one of the first things people were encouraged to buy when her who’s name shall not be spoken came to power in 1979.

Mortgage insurance – why be vulnerable?

Burgesses Insurance News has published an interesting article today looking at the rationale behind the purchasing of insurance as a protection vehicle, and questions why the public are disinterested and can’t be bothered when it comes to purchasing Mortgage Protection for the largest investment of all – a house!………..

It it just that the public doesn’t appreciate the risks? Until it is too late….

Mortgage insurance – why be vulnerable?

First Published Burgesses.com July 27th, 2009 in Mortgage Insurance |

Most people are thoroughly accustomed to one of the most basic principles of insurance – if something is valuable, it is probably worth insuring. Although the principle might be widely recognised in many other areas of domestic life, however, for some reason it does not seem to be so readily grasped when it comes to mortgage insurance.

Only an estimated 25% of the nation’s 11.7 million mortgage borrowers are believed to have arranged this potentially indispensable for of insurance. Given the sheer value of the mortgaged homes, not to mention the dire consequences of defaulting on the mortgage repayments, the statistic is surprising to say the least. Some three-quarters of borrowers seem to be leaving themselves vulnerable to the most common risks to their incomes – accidents, illnesses and unemployment – and with the loss of an income, the ability to continue their mortgage repayments.

The penalties for defaulting on the mortgage repayments, of course, can be serious indeed. In the worst cases, it can lead to repossession of the home itself by a mortgage lender determined to recover the outstanding debt. But even if some arrangement can be reached with the lender, the homeowner is still vulnerable. If mortgage repayments cannot be made, the home might have to be sold – even though the current state of the housing market might mean that such a sale realises less than the outstanding mortgage debt. At the very least, the late or non-payment of the mortgage installments as they fall due will attract adverse credit reports on the borrower’s file. This will make borrowing – or any other form of credit – more expensive to arrange in the future, if the facility is extended to the individual at all.

This is a vulnerability that the homeowner can easily avoid with mortgage insurance. The insurance can offer complete protection for the mortgage repayments in the event that the policy holder meets with an accident or suffers an illness that prevents normal earnings from work. The same protection is also extended if the policy holder loses his or her job through compulsory redundancy. In any of these events, such a policy will pay out an insured benefit from which the mortgage repayments can continue to be paid – in many instances, directly to the mortgage lender concerned, if needs be.

Once in payment, the mortgage insurance monthly benefit payments ensure that the mortgage is repaid every month that the policy holder remains incapacitated for work, involuntarily unemployed, or for up to a typical maximum period of 12 months, whichever is the shorter time. Taking up the option offered by some policies, payouts can be made over an even longer period and extended for up to a maximum of 24 months, if an additional premium is paid.

Commercial Insurance Explained – Small Business Insurance Advice

Small business insurance or commercial insurance for enterprises has suffered in parallel with the decline in commercial and entrepreneurial activity in the UK and worldwide during the last six months.
Consequently those offering cover have to be more inventive, cutthroat in pricing or superior in their risk assessment in order to maintain decent profit levels.
This background to UK Commercial Insurance has been altered largely by the large number of new Internet suppliers, finally offering commercial insurance for small business propositions online.
This has not only impacted upon consumers as a wider choice of business insurance products, but the downturn in the economy has meant that what should be hard premium rates are in fact fairly soft.
Add to this the number of illegal claims that businesses always make during a recession and you are potentially sitting on a very explosive if some what interesting market.

Despite the recession there are many small business start-ups happening at the moment so we reprint on of Insurance bloggers articles here that explains to small and large businesses the wide and varied range of commercial risks that need to be assessed on an individual company level and purchased appropriately.

Understanding Commercial Insurance Risks and Business Insurance Covers
By Dave Healey

If you own or manage a business, either large or small, you will require some type of insurance to protect your company against the various risks and potential multitude of claims, that your business will face.

Commercial insurance or Business insurance as it is commonly known, is a complicated area of underwriting and because all businesses are different, and face different risks depending upon the nature of the company, various packages and combined policy covers have been introduced by insurance companies and commercial broker schemes, to make the process easier.

An example of a small business insurance package which is commonly sold online is the Tradesman’s insurance package, which includes all elements of cover required by a small business or self employed trader such as basic liability covers and theft of tools.

Other small business insurance packages that are trade specific and can often be obtained online are available for shopkeepers, offices, surgeries, hotels and guest houses, restaurants, public houses and builders.

Large companies will be offered what is known as a commercial combined policy which has many different elements of cover which can be combined to make a bespoke policy for the enterprise. Most large companies will require some degree of risk assessment before the policy is underwritten, which may often include a visit to the business premises or site, and for this reason these types of larger business usually employ the services of specialist commercial insurance brokers.

Business Insurance Risks

The largest risk that a business faces is from liability to others, and the potential costs and damages a company could face if a claim was made against it.

All companies are required by law to have in place liability cover, called Employers liability insurance or EL, to protect their staff against all potential risks and accidents while in the workplace.

Business liability insurance is usually sold as a package and will always include Public Liability, often just known as PL, which protects the company against claims from the public whilst on the business premises.

A further type of liability insurance called Product liability is also available to companies under a commercial liability policy which protects the company against claims made for design or manufacturing faults in the product.

Company directors can also protect themselves against liabilities with Directors and Officers insurance (D&O) cover.

Property Damage

Most business large and small will have premises that need protection against buildings perils such as fire and flood and commercial property insurance is available to cover all buildings insurance risks. Similarly commercial contents insurance for business premises is available which covers office and business equipment including files and data processing against the common perils. For companies that carry stock, this type of business contents insurance can be extended to cover risk such as deterioration and damage.

For the small businessman who works from home these covers are often available with strict limits of indemnity, as a bolt on to a standard home buildings and contents policy. This type of cover is often effective for self employed people with just a computer and a home office.

Business Contingency Cover

One of the largest problems faced by a business is that of how to continue in business should the worst occur, for example a fire that destroys the premises. In order to deal with this Insurance companies have devised a cover called ‘Business Interruption Insurance’. Based on your previous years annual turnover, this protection insurance covers your company against all losses caused by interruption to trading due to any of the perils mentioned on the policy and will pay out on a indemnified basis for the period of cover agreed in the policy. Most policies will also offer some type of alternative trading accommodation to enable you business to continue whilst the premises are being repaired.

Additional Commercial Insurance Risks

Because commercial insurance is designed to cover all classes of business, there are many various trade or business specific covers available which can be added to a combined policy. Examples of these covers include loss of licence to trade, glass cover, goods in transit cover, book debts, commercial vehicle insurance, hauliers cover, warehouse cover, engineering insurance and plant inspection services, and theft by employees.

Outside of most commercial combined policies are additional risks, more often sold under separate policy covers, that should be considered to protect your business against all eventualities.

Examples of these are, Commercial Legal Expenses insurance cover which protects the company against claims made by employees for unfair dismissal and allows you to bring cases against suppliers.

Various protection policies are also available for businesses including Keyman insurance which provides cover against the loss of key people within your organisation. Business mortgage protection provides a monthly payment for business premises should you suffer and accident or sickness. Group ASU policies are also available to protect your staff and employees.

Purchasing Business Cover

Purchasing commercial risks insurance can be a daunting experience for the uninitiated small business owner and unless the risks are straightforward and can be underwritten online, it is advisable for all companies to approach the services of a local or regional commercial insurance broker. Insurance Brokers will not only be able to assess the complete range of risks that your business is exposed to, and provide the correct levels of cover, they will more often than not have a unique local knowledge of the risks involved and will be able to negotiate premiums that reflect the nature of the risks. Furthermore, in the event of a claim, and as most businesses will be faced with claims at some point in their trading life-cycle, the broker will handle all the settlement negotiations with the insuring company and allow you to continue what you do best – running your business.

Commercial insurance and tradesman risks covers for small business insurance are widely available online today. For larger commercial enterprises it is strongly advisable to visit commercial insurance brokers for a detailed assessment of the risks your particular business is exposed to.

Cheap Car Insurance Could Land You In Jail! or Banned for Life!

LONDON – UK Car Insurance comparison website Car-Insurance.tv is warning drivers to be very careful when applying for cheap car insurance…….

cheap car insurance

Car Insurance Fraud has been on the rise in the UK for the last few years.
One could argue disproportionately due to the influx of Eastern European criminal gangs staging road accidents, however the current recession has seen suspected cases of car insurance fraud rise to unprecedented levels, sometimes in very unusual areas.

One worrying factor is the trend to obtain cheap car insurance by ‘lying’ on the online proposal form or over the phone. Much cheaper car insurance premiums can be obtained by those who lie, omit, or deliberately falsely declare information when applying for cover.

Insurance Blogger has even seen some websites encouraging this type of behaviour!

The savvy public looking to save a few pounds will bend the truth to obtain cheaper premiums as a recent case that appeared before Bridlington Magistrates in Yorkshire demonstrates..

A driver of green Ford Fiesta, a Mr Pears aged 24 of Bridlington was found to have been behind the wheel of his car without valid business insurance and was using the vehicle for business purposes without the appropriate insurance cover in place.

The court heard that when police routinely stopped the vehicle, they noticed that
Pears had a number of insulated pizza bags on the front passenger seat. He explained he had just begun working as a pizza delivery driver on a trial basis that day.

Although he was able to produce a valid insurance policy for the car, a quick search of the Motor Insurance Database by the police officers at the scene revealed that the policy had a usage type of SDP and only covered him for social, domestic and pleasure use of the car and excluded business use, the bench heard.

Pears was fined £525 and had his driving licence endorsed with six penalty points.
Costs of £40 and a £15 victim surcharge were also imposed.

What this goes to show is that if you are caught.. and you will be! Your car insurance for the future will never be Cheap!
Indeed you may not even be able to get cover again once you have commited Insurance Fraud!

It could amount to a lifetime Driving Ban!

Cheap car insurance can be obtained legally by comparing car insurance quotes from many suppliers and by answering the questions truthfully, on one form.

Payment Protection is the solution to National Debt management

InsuranceBlogger was calling for an overhaul of the way the Government manages unemployment back in November last year. The recent global economic events have seen record levels of unemployment in the UK. Now one of the UK’s leading experts on the cost of Unemployment and lobbyist for the prevention of the mis-selling of Payment Protection Insurancehas stepped in with some interesting comments….

PPI Should Have Been Included in Government’s Debt Management White Paper Says Burgess

Last week’s Government announcement that consumers are to get their own ‘champion’ in the form of a consumer advocate and benefit from a raft of measures to help them better manage their debts is to be applauded says Payment Protection Insurance lobbyist Sara-Ann Burgess from specialist firm Burgesses, but time will tell whether the theory works well in practice.

Braintree, Essex (PRWEB) July 6, 2009 — Last week’s Government announcement that consumers are to get their own ‘champion’ in the form of a consumer advocate and benefit from a raft of measures to help them better manage their debts is to be applauded says Payment Protection Insurance lobbyist Sara-Ann Burgess from specialist firm Burgesses (http://www.burgesses.com), but time will tell whether the theory works well in practice.

In its White Paper ‘A better deal for consumers – delivering real help now and change for the future’ – the Government is proposing to appoint an advocate who will raise awareness of national issues and represent groups of consumers in court to help them seek compensation and refunds.

It’s banning credit card cheques – blank cheques that are sent to card holders who are encouraged to use them as an alternative spending tool. These involve handling fees and contrary to credit cards, there are no interest free periods and no protection if something goes wrong.

Other debt-management measures include; preventing card providers increasing limits without their customers’ consent, launching a new online credit card comparison tool, courtesy of the Financial Services Authority, assessing whether monthly card minimum repayments are too low (and so allow debts and accrued interest costs to spiral) and reviewing high cost credit providers (50% + APR) who offer credit over the doorstep or via payday loans.

There are also plans to assist people who are at risk from rogue traders – they will be supported by a team formed to tackle internet-based scams and a review of protection for consumers who pay for goods but are not delivered due to the company going into liquidation.

“All of these recommendations sound great,” says Sara-Ann, “but unless the advocate has real power, he or she will not deter credit card providers from encouraging customers to plunge deeper into debt and it will probably take years to implement as there will be a consultation period.”

The Government predicts its advocate will be in post early next year, but concedes the appointee will have no legal power as consultation and a new law would be needed to allow this to happen.

Sara-Ann comments: “I’m interested to see how fast the Government will tackle rogue trader issues as it’s done little to address widespread mis-selling in the PPI sector for years. As a result of its sluggish response, consumers have sunk further into debt via prolific sales of single premium PPI, where the cost of the premium is included in the final loan amount and interest added onto both, complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service have escalated, group actions are now being undertaken and providers have a free rein to increase their prices and restrict their cover.

“I wonder how long the White Paper review period will last for? The PPI sector has been under scrutiny for around four years now and the deadline for the Competition Commission’s remedial measures isn’t until April and October next year – some five years after the Citizens Advice Bureau first identified that features of the PPI market were seriously harming the interests of consumers.”

She continues: “Given the continued failings that have been allowed to occur within the PPI sector, I’m sceptical about how effective these measures and the role of the advocate will be. I hope I’m proved wrong and sweeping changes are made to stop consumers being encouraged to spend beyond their means, but I would equally like to see greater PPI mis-selling clampdowns and more advice on how to shop around for cover.”

Sara-Ann believes PPI is an effective debt prevention tool as it will repay monthly credit card bills for up to a year in the event the holder loses an income due to accident, sickness or unemployment and would have liked to see reference made to this product in the White Paper.

She concludes: “It only takes a couple of months of missed credit card payments to build up debts which is why this cover is so useful. Credit card providers should be pressurised into offering this cover free of charge to their customers or allow them to purchase at reduced rates.

“It’s a shame the Government didn’t consider Payment Protection Insurance in its measures to tackle indebtedness – instead it’s left to online independent providers such as Burgesses and British Insurance () to ensure quality cover is affordable and accessible to all. Premiums are calculated per £100 of monthly benefit and firms such as these two charge £1.90 per £100 for accident and sickness cover, £3.40 per £100 for unemployment and £3.90 per £100 for all three – well below other providers’ premiums.”

Anyone looking for Credit Card Payment Protection should opt for a policy that pays off all or part of the credit card debt, dependant on the amount of benefit purchased. Older-style policies tend to only pay a proportion of the total credit card bill, usually the outstanding minimum payment. “

……..and while we are on the subject of Credit Cards. Lord Mandelson – please bring the extortionate rates charged by the UK banks into line with the other forms of credit in the UK. The credit card debt is stopping the so called green shoots of recovery!